Friday, August 22, 2008

The Back to School Money Pit

School is back in session! Is there a sweeter sentence in the whole English language? How I’ve longed for this day as the hot summer weeks have slowly run their course.

The house no longer rings with the endless chant of, ‘I don’t have anything to do. He’s calling me names. She won’t stay out of my room.’ And the never ending pile of plates and glasses, that represent the infinite state of my children’s appetites, has shrunk to a mere trickle.

Yet, I will be honest enough to admit, that August isn’t all about getting the kids out of the house and back to the learning environment where they belong. There is a negative side as well. I call it ‘The Back to School Money Pit’, and any parent of school age children knows exactly what I’m talking about.

First there are clothes. Lots and lots of clothes. The underwear and socks that worked perfectly well three month’s earlier are no longer sufficient for the needs of a new school year. And speaking of underwear, I was shopping with my daughter last week and she desperately wanted a package of Hannah Montana briefs. Now I can understand Spiderman or Powerpuff girl underwear. Those are cartoon characters, but how can Miss Miley Cirus sleep at night knowing that her face is sprawled across hundreds of little rear ends through out the country.

Once everyone is outfitted with brand new clothes and sneakers that will be worn out and need to be replaced before Halloween, a parent’s next stop is the school supply section. This area of the store spans about four aisles and takes as much space as the Easter and Valentine Candy displays combined. I saw six different styles of pencil and pen holders. Six! They stick the thing in their desk and it doesn’t immerge until school lets out in May. How fancy does it need to be?

And paper. Simple paper. It comes with various sizes of lines, in multiple colors and every design imaginable including of course, Hannah Montana so that little girls can match their notebooks to their panties.

Then of course there are the fees. Locker fees, activity card fees, text book fees, parking fees. How much can it possibly cost to maintain a locker for pete sakes?

By the time the cost of school lunches and equipment for extra curricular activities are figured in, a parent is lucky if they can still pay their mortgage.

Then the child gets into school and in less than a week they are lugging home the mandatory fundraiser catalog. Come on teachers. After all the money we’ve just had to spend getting the little monsters safely back into your classrooms, we’re the ones who ought to be holding fundraisers!

Still, I find myself thinking of that clever credit card ad, ‘New Jeans, $22.00, Three Ring Binder in Trojan Blue $7.98, Middle School Registration Fee $126.00. Having the house back to yourself – Priceless”


Tiff, Ry, and Jayden said...

LOL I love this post. You should sell your idea to mastercard. Youll make a lot of money

your sis said...

you make me laugh- thanks for sharing.

Tiff, Ry, and Jayden said...

Okay- I guess it was Kathy who commented- but I commented too!!! (You're not crazy...)

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